The Great Lakes Loons have announced they’ve received a formal invitation by the Los Angeles Dodgers to be one of their affiliates in Major League Baseball’s new player development structure. As part of the restructured system, the Great Lakes Loons will be re-classified as a High-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Our franchise has had a tremendous relationship with the Dodgers over the last 14 years and we are truly excited to be extending that partnership for many, many years to come,” Loons Interim President & General Manager Mike Hayes said. “The Dodgers have played a key role in the success of our franchise, and we are committed to providing a first-class experience for their Minor League players so they may reach their full potential and contribute to the Dodgers success.”
The Loons have been the Low-A affiliate of the Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. The move to High-A is part of a geographic alignment for MLB’s player development system, with the California League (formerly High-A) moving to Low-A and the Midwest League (formerly Low-A) transitioning to High-A. The change in classification also solidifies the Loons affiliation with the Dodgers for the foreseeable future.
Moving forward, the Dodgers farm system will include: Oklahoma City (AAA), Tulsa (AA), Great Lakes (High-A), and Rancho Cucamonga (Low-A). The Loons are the longest tenured affiliate within the system dating back to 2007.
The Loons have qualified for the Midwest League Playoffs in seven of their 13 seasons (no 2020 season due to COVID-19). The Dodgers played a vital role in bringing the first-ever MWL Championship to Midland in 2016 when the team went on a memorable run to get into the postseason and then capture the title at Dow Diamond against the Clinton LumberKings.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who started the inaugural game in franchise history, also became the first former Loons player to debut in the Major Leagues on May 25, 2008. Since then, 78 other Loons alumni have gone on to play in MLB including Kenley Jansen, Dee Gordon, Joc Pederson, Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Corey Seager. Seager helped propel the Dodgers to their first World Series Championship since 1988, and was awarded both the NLCS and World Series MVP.
With the new player development system now in place, the respective leagues will now begin the process of developing the 2021 season schedules. Once finalized, the Loons will release its 2021 regular season schedule to the general public.